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Calming Dogs in FireWorks

(23 Posts)
pumpkinsweetie Mon 05-Nov-12 18:37:54

Hello fellow mnetters does anyone have any tips on calming dogs on fireworks night?
She's 9 this year & not taking it so well, the noise has sent her into continuous panting & sweating!
Tia x

cathpip Mon 05-Nov-12 18:39:55

Have you tried something called bach rescue remedy its homeopathic and meant for humans but my vet suggested it to me.

BeerTricksPott3r Mon 05-Nov-12 18:43:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BrianCoxIsEatingBrains Mon 05-Nov-12 18:47:34

Depending on the level of stress, soothing and calm tone of voice. If they react to a bang, talk them down - but don't make too much fuss.

Keep curtains closed, turn tv up a bit, keep the room calm - any hyper children <stares at DD lying on floor desperate to dance and sing> should be kept calm around the dog.

When they don't react to a bang, a reward - understated though, a simple (soothing) 'good girl' or a bit of ham/treat.

This is what I am currently doing with my dog, she would be climbing the walls if I let her, but appears reasonably calm....ish. The cats are not too fussed, thankfully!

Harebell Mon 05-Nov-12 18:48:16

I too used Bach Rescue remedy for the first time this year. Last year I used a specific similar remedy for dogs which didn't work. The Bach Rescue Remedy has worked very well for my dog, no more shaking, panting or running round the house.

BrianCoxIsEatingBrains Mon 05-Nov-12 18:50:18

I take back EVERYTHING I just typed.

Next door have just started their fireworks and she has gone absolutely bat-shit mental sad

BrianCoxIsEatingBrains Mon 05-Nov-12 18:52:25

My nan tells me that if you can get your dog and do the following it has a calming effect.

With your finger draw a small circle on your dog's back, clockwise. The circle should start at 12 o'clock position and finish at 12.45 position.

Once one circle has been done, move to another part of the dog's body - head, chest, rump. Repeat, calmly, slowly and never in any pattern so the dog doesn't know where to expect the nice feeling next.

Worth a try?

BeerTricksPott3r Mon 05-Nov-12 18:56:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BrianCoxIsEatingBrains Mon 05-Nov-12 18:57:30

It made my dog VERY silly blush

I cuddled her instead and shushed in her ear - she liked that and has calmed down for now grin

JemimaPuddle Mon 05-Nov-12 19:10:02

I've used TTouch and a tight tshirt in the past and both really help.

LetThereBeCupcakes Mon 05-Nov-12 19:13:14

Brian - did you know that has a name? It's one of the motions you can use in TTouch, and does usually have a wonderfully calming effect.

OP - Don't soothe them at all, as others have said it will reinforce the fear (as they see it as praise). Get through this year as best you can with distraction / safe places / TV on to drown at the noise. Then you can try desensitising her with a fireworks soundtrack CD, however this needs to be done REALLY carefully so I'd get a qualified trainer or behaviourist to help out.

BrianCoxIsEatingBrains Mon 05-Nov-12 19:21:55

ooo, so my nan wasn't just being weird then? grin wink

I have seen it work, in fairness. A hyper puppy and a room full of people. Just not on bonfire night and didn't work on my dog when the rockets were going off next door.

LetThereBeCupcakes Mon 05-Nov-12 19:26:43

Nope! I'm very impressed that she knows TTouch! There are lots of different motions you can use but the one you describe is the first one I learnt on the (very short!) course I did. Different dogs tend to like different touches - my boy in particular adores it. The tight Tshirt that Jemima mentions is all part of it too, though probably much cheaper and easier to fit than a "proper" TTouch Body Wrap.

pimmsgalore Mon 05-Nov-12 19:36:50

We havemanaged to get through the firework display in the field behind our house, with lots of hugs, treats and an over stuffed kong in the crate. However, I stupidly let pimmsdog out once they stopped and he is now going mental at the hundreds of people cutting up the lane by our house and across our drive using it as a shortcut back to the local angry

pimmsgalore Mon 05-Nov-12 19:38:29

Thats out of his crate not outside as obviously those not going to the local will now be off home for to let off their own dog irritants

I wonder if he will be barking madly later when they all stumble home drunk past our house hmm

pumpkinsweetie Mon 05-Nov-12 20:37:03

Thankyou everyone, i have tried the TTouch and the t-shirt, also soothing music and the combination seems to have calmed her somewhatsmile

RedwingWinter Mon 05-Nov-12 23:26:33

You can safely pet your dog when it is afraid without worrying about reinforcing the fear. I know people often say you shouldn't, but I think it's one of those things we can blame on That Man, since he says it often on his show. Fear is an emotion and your dog can't help feeling afraid of the fireworks; petting him won't make him or her more fearful.

Patricia McConnell's written about it here and here if you're interested.

There's also a podcast on Animal Cafe with dog trainer/PhD student Amy Cook here which explains that you can't reinforce fear and with some useful tips for fearful dogs.

I hope you've all made it through the evening!

BeerTricksPott3r Tue 06-Nov-12 10:02:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CalamityKate Tue 06-Nov-12 10:09:01

I've heard really good reports on the Thundershirt

LetThereBeCupcakes Tue 06-Nov-12 11:44:36

Also not picked it up from "That Man". I think the concern is that they pick up on your stress if you try and comfort them. I guess if you're calm yourself you can convey that to the dog through touch.

Pumpkin - glad you both made it through OK!

SpicyPear Tue 06-Nov-12 12:02:37

I think it depends a lot what stage of fear they are in and what the comforting it. If they are just a bit anxious and you start with dramatic "Oh my poor baby, it's okay" type stuff, in my experience it exacerbates it as they are still looking for a lead from you as to how to behave in the situation. Once they are in full on panic though I totally agree that you can't reinforce that. They are not functioning in a way that would allow them to learn, they are having an instinctual reaction. I could dance around in a squeaky chicken suit and SpicyDog wouldn't be focused on anything but her terror!

punter Tue 06-Nov-12 14:51:02

who is That Man?

BeerTricksPott3r Tue 06-Nov-12 14:59:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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